Making Friends is Good for Your Health
In our ‘How to Transition to a Wanderlust Lifestyle’ blog post, we talk briefly about building community as a full-time RVer. We think it’s such an important topic that we listed it under the “Health and Wellness” category on our transition plan.
Don’t have that plan yet and want it? Click here.
This post goes deeper into how to make friends as a full-time RVer.
Where is Everybody?
When we left our jobs, home, friends and family, we anticipated meeting all kinds of interesting people while traveling. We had visions of salty, old-timey RVers, regaling us with stories of yesteryear—the belly-dancing artist traveling with her four cats, or the uber-liberal family living in a vintage bus off the grid (oh wait, we actually did meet them). I think this idyllic view made saying “goodbye” to our loved ones feel less depressing.
Sadly, only the crickets greeted us whenever we pulled into a new RV park. Sure, we waved at the family across the way, or chatted with the neighbors from time to time, but it wasn’t the fantasy we had created. These were normal people enjoying their vacations. They were there to relax and spend time together, not meet some dopey, wide-eyed, new full-time RVers. We were the weird ones with our foolish tale of leaving everything behind to RV full-time. Seriously, who does that?
It turns out that a heck of a lot of people trade in the “real world” for the “wheel world,” we just weren’t looking in the right places. We went months without forming meaningful friendships because we didn’t know where or how to look.
Over time however, we have found various ways to make friends on the road. If you are a little intimidated about making friends as a full-time RVer, rest assured that friendships can form with these three easy steps: Go, Get, Give.
Go to RV Events
The Xscapers convergence changed everything. You can read the full story here. Not only did we meet new and interesting people, we made lifelong friends. After that event, we went to the RV Entrepreneur Summit, and we’re planning on more Xscapers convergences in the future.
We went from zero to sixty in a matter of a few weeks. Now, we know more RVers than non-RVers, and many with stories way better than the traveling cat-lady. We have built relationships with real people, with whom we can share our lives, laugh, and even cry.
There are so many different RV events, yet somehow we found them by accident. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you start researching now you’ll find events that cater to everyone: families, solo RVers, people with dogs, etc. Don’t skip this step, especially if you are new to RVing. It will help you build relationships early, which is important to offset the times that you may feel lonely while traveling.
Full-time RVing (or y’know—life in general) can be lonely at times, and there will be moments when you really, painfully miss your friends and family. Sure, you can call them, text them etc., but they don’t totally relate to what you are doing. That along with not meeting new people, can leave you feeling isolated.
Social media can help you shore up the lonely times. You are likely already using social media, but are you using it to its full potential to build relationships?
I communicate with others fairly regularly whether on Facebook, Instagram, direct messaging, etc. Before I was a nomad, I found social media a bit tedious. All those photos of what people ate for dinner just didn’t do it for me. I rarely posted and mostly consumed other people’s content. Now I use social media primarily for relationship building. I reach out to people, comment on their content, share ideas, and give advice (only when asked of course). It can be time consuming and you have to find the balance between spending time online and living life. But if relationships are important to you, then staying connected online is a good approach.
In a future post, I’ll dig deeper into the uses of social media, including how to optimize it for networking, growing your business, and creating income opportunities.
Give First to Others
Ok, I was trying to be cute here with Go, Get, Give, and couldn’t find a better ‘G’ word. What I mean by ‘give first to others’ is to take the first step in putting yourself out there. When you see people at campgrounds, wave to them first, say “Hello,” and engage them in conversation.
Reach out to people online. This happened on the Fourth of July, when I saw that Rachel and John from Nomaditagain were in the same area. I reached out to see if they wanted to meet “IRL” (in real life). We met them for a drink and they invited us to the ranch where they were work camping. We bottle fed a calf and gathered fresh chicken eggs; the whole thing was just magical.
I can hear you saying, “But I’m an introvert. That’s really uncomfortable for me.” I get it, me too. People don’t think that about me because I put myself out there all the time. They think it’s easy for me to meet others, but it’s actually awkward for me to make the first move in creating relationships.
Here’s the irony though, many full-time RVers are introverts. It’s the perfect lifestyle for an introvert because you have tons of alone time and can be around people when you want. However, there aren’t many people to be around if everyone is shy about saying “Hello.” So put yourself out there, give first to others, and you will be embraced by a warm and welcoming community.
If it makes you feel more comfortable, start with us. Shoot us an email and say “Hello.” Click here.
Some of the Relationships We’ve Built
Now the fun part of this post. We want to introduce you to some of our RV friends. First, let me say that I know many, super-cool RVers. If I included them all, this would be an exceptionally long post. I chose the following folks because I chat with them regularly, enjoy the content they share, and think they are great people to get to know.
You Had Me at Meow Wolf
Do you remember the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Part 2? They meet their future selves and have a mind-blowing experience. There are two Teds and two Bills saying, “Dude, dude, no way, excellent,” over and over. That’s what it was like meeting William (Bill) and Porter. We were standing around at an event when Bill, Bryce and I started a surface level chat. Then Bill said the magic words, “Meow Wolf.” “Oh. My. God. We LOVE Meow Wolf,” I screeched. Porter, a few steps away, overheard those words and shrieked, “Meow Wolf y’all!” Before you knew it, we were all shrieking “Meow Wolf” at each other in a spontaneous eruption of joy.
We hung out for hours, drinking beer, and laughing our asses off. We have a TON in common with them, including Porter and I with similar backgrounds in corporate education. Bill takes amazing photos that perfectly capture the light, moment, and vibe of a place. You can check out his photography page here and follow their journey at Trinkles on Tour.
Side note: you must got to Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s a 20,000 square foot immersive art complex, and dude, it’s the most excellent, mind-blowing thing ever.
Man’s Search For Meaning
Have you ever read Viktor Frankl’s, Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a deeply philosophical story of psychological triumph. That’s what hanging out with Maury Robertson is like, except with a spiritual element. Maury’s story of trying to beat back his former “Pastor Maury” identity is riveting. Plus, he’s funny and easy to be around. He is bravely transparent about his journey which you can follow here on his AnchorPoint Facebook page. You will be moved by his daily inspiration videos.
Julie is Maury’s wife and foil. She’s a ray of sunshine with a warm heart and sarcastic zingers for Maury (when deserved). We can talk with them about everything from the meaning of life, to new and exotic flavors of ice cream. Check out their blog Wandering Peregrino.
The Unicorn of RV Entrepreneurs
I saw Liz Wilcox at the RVE Summit, for about a minute. I don’t think I made much of an impression on her, but she made an impression on me in her oversized American flag sweater, square framed glasses, and quirky personality. She continues to make an impression through her inspiring journey of working to fulfill her full-time RV dreams. She’s eager to get herself, daughter, and husband on the road after he gets out of the military. I had an inkling that Liz and I would work well together, so I reached out, and we’ve been collaborating ever since.
I call Liz the “Unicorn of the RV Entrepreneur World” (that’s a Silicon Valley reference by the way). She built a blog, Liz Wilcox’s Virtual Campground and already wrote an ebook, Tales From the Black Tank: A Collection of Hilariously Crappy RV Stories. It’s for sale here and I even have a story included in it! Thank you in advance if you purchase the book, as I will make a percentage of the sale. You will thank me for side-splitting, deep-belly laughs from these dark RV tales. Check out her website too.
There you have it, a few of our RV friends whom we met at events, through social media and by reaching out.
Go. Get. Give.
I encourage you to build relationships on your journey, and by journey, I don’t just mean in an RV, I mean in life. It doesn’t matter if it’s an RV, apartment, house or elsewhere, relationships are critical no matter where you live. The longer I’m on the road, the more I realize that the most important things in life, more important than anything else, are the people you love and the ones who love you back. So if you go to events, get online, and give first to others, you will always have a friend to share a story with by the campfire—even if it’s virtual.
This brings up another topic for next time: how do you maintain relationships with your friends and family back home? Stay tuned for the post about how I couldn’t have picked a worse year to hit the road.
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